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What Currency Do You Use To Measure Impact? (Step 1)

by Jason Sanders on December 1, 2009 · 2 comments

in Charity,Questions

Measured Impact is a contest that organizes labor for charity and also measures the strength and loyalty of the contestants’ social media connections and relationships.  Why labor?  Here’s why:

When thinking about making a difference and generating a measurable impact against society’s problems, many people’s minds automatically jump to monitary denominations.  We’ve been trained to do this through telethons for Jerry’s Kids, PBS, Public Radio, etc.  It’s common to measure a charitable endeavors success by the amount of money that is raised. I have a philosophical problem with this perception though.

Let me explain… From the point of view of someone who wants to get involved and make a difference… If you accept that all people are created equal, then using money to measure the success of a charitable endeavor is a round peg for a square hole.  Wealth or lack thereof varies a lot between different people.  I want to create a contest that will benefit charity but also measure action and loyaltyThat’s what Measured Impact is. It doesn’t make sense to me to give a weighted measurement to more wealthy, or even famous people.  For this contest, I want the scales to be balanced so that every person, with the desire to do so, can actually go out and make a difference…a measurable difference.  This is a very important concept for measuring loyalty, because from a giver’s perspective, the value of the gift is directly related to the abundance that they have of the thing they’re giving.

To solve this riddle I needed to find a currency (or control for my experiment) that we all have in equal measure.  I read Karl Denninger’s Market Ticker Blog a lot.  I don’t agree with all of his politics, but he has a one of a kind way of breaking down financial information and I like that he sticks to the math.  One post in particular stands out in my mind where Karl discusses the value of money and what could be constituted as money.

Money: The product of either growing something, mining something or manufacturing something. “Money” is actual wealth, and comes into being only through creation. Ultimately, all money is traced to the only “free lunch” that exists in this solar system, that is, the power of The Sun, although in many cases (e.g. mining) the activity is in fact discovery of previously-created wealth (by the actions of The Sun) levered through human endeavor.

Karl went on to describe lots of everyday items that could be considered to be money. In fact most of what we buy, own, and touch could be considered money because it has an intrinsic value due to the labor (time) that went in to creating the items and the materials that they are made of. Even though this is an expansion of the basic truth that “Time Is Money” it really got my mental gears spinning, and I suddenly had myself a nice little epiphany.

What if I were to measure impact in effort or even time spent, instead of money? Time is one thing that all humans have an equal amount of. No matter how much money or fame you have, you can’t get extra hours in a day. By making this single change and using labor as a currency instead of actual currency, I could level the playing field for all the players and give everyone an equal opportunity to make an impact. Now I’m really excited!

I still have a few questions about how to measure loyalty and the strength of relationships, but I’ll get to that next (Step 2)

What do you think of this idea?

To learn more check out:

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